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January 25, 2017

Is Prez Trump really ordering the Justice Department to conduct major voter fraud investigation?

Though it appears that Jeff Sessions will not be confirmed to serve as our next Attorney General until next week, his boss this morning was tweeting a new crime-fighting agenda for the Justice Department.  This U.S. News & World Report article, headlined "Trump Calls for Voter Fraud Investigation: The president has previously declared that 3 to 5 million voted illegally in 2016," explains:

President Donald Trump called for a "major investigation" into voter fraud Wednesday. "I will be asking for a major investigation into VOTER FRAUD, including those registered to vote in two states, those who are illegal and… even, those registered to vote who are dead (and many for a long time). Depending on results, we will strengthen up voting procedures!" the president tweeted from his personal account.

The call is a follow-up on comments from Trump and the White House. Trump said "millions" voted illegally in November, prompting him to lose the popular vote to Hillary Clinton. And shortly after being sworn in as president, Trump repeated the claim to lawmakers at a White House reception, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.

When asked if the administration would call for an investigation on the matter at Tuesday's briefing in Washington, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said that it was a possibility. "Maybe we will," Spicer said.

He noted the president has continuously stated his concern on the issue before and "continues to maintain that belief" that voter fraud is a major problem, "based on studies and evidence people have brought to him." Spicer specifically cited a study "that came out of Pew in 2008 that showed 14 percent of people who voted were noncitizens."

Politico slammed the veracity of that study and claim, and several outlets, including CNN and the Associated Press, assert that the president and his team have provided essentially no evidence for these claims....

The White House is not fully going it alone, however. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, gave at least tacit backing to Trump on the issue Tuesday. "It does occur," McConnell told reporters. "The notion that election fraud is a fiction is not true… There are always arguments on both sides about how much, how frequent and all the rest."

But House Speaker Paul Ryan said he had seen "no evidence to that effect" and he's made his position on the matter "very, very clear."

Based on the reports and evidence I have seen marshaled by folks on both sides of the political aisle, the claim that millions (rather than perhaps just hundreds) voted illegally in the 2016 election is seemingly badly detached from reality.  And it is useful to recall that we went down this road to some extent 16 years ago the last time a Republican took control of the Executive Branch.  This lengthy New York Times article from 2007, headlined "In 5-Year Effort, Scant Evidence of Voter Fraud," review the last version of this story and it starts this way:

Five years after the Bush administration began a crackdown on voter fraud, the Justice Department has turned up virtually no evidence of any organized effort to skew federal elections, according to court records and interviews. Although Republican activists have repeatedly said fraud is so widespread that it has corrupted the political process and, possibly, cost the party election victories, about 120 people have been charged and 86 convicted as of last year.

January 25, 2017 at 09:01 AM | Permalink

Comments

Why would believe anything coming from the birther-in-chief (we are still awaiting the "astounding" results from the the investigators that the birther-in-chief supposedly sent to Hawaii to prove Obama's birth certificate was phony), the groper-in-chief, the con man-in chief, the narcissist-in-chief, the Russian shill-in chief, the you-will-never-see-my-tax returns-in chief?

Posted by: Emily | Jan 25, 2017 9:45:03 AM

Emily, point taken!

Posted by: anon | Jan 25, 2017 9:54:58 AM

There is litigation in Minnesota that calls into question Franken's election.

The problem with voter fraud is that, where it results in an election that should have been invalidated, you cease to have a democracy. Franken provided the critical 60th vote for Obamacare.

Posted by: federalist | Jan 25, 2017 10:06:12 AM

Federalist, there's litigation over everything under the sun. Don't tell me a person of your intelligence is actually drinking the voter-fraud Kool-Aid? From the birther-in-chief yet? How are the mighty fallen!

Posted by: anon | Jan 25, 2017 10:10:18 AM

FWIW my own view is that anyone who was granted citizenship as a result of the Immigration and Control Act on 1986 is in this country illegally since that law was unconstitutional. Hence any such people who voted, voted illegally.

Posted by: Daniel | Jan 25, 2017 12:29:09 PM

federalist, I am very interested in your take on the accuracy and morality of Prez Trump's assertion that there were 3 to 5 million illegal votes cast and that these votes cost him the overall popular vote. We had a long debate about whether Prez Trump might prove to be a more moral Prez that Prez Obama, and I am wondering if Trump's statements about the US being, in essence, a banana republic in any way charges your take on Trump as Prez.

Posted by: Doug B. | Jan 25, 2017 1:43:26 PM

Daniel writes: "my own view is that anyone who was granted citizenship as a result of the Immigration and Control Act on 1986 is in this country illegally since that law was unconstitutional. Hence any such people who voted, voted illegally."

And I say to Daniel that my view is that anyone who is not at least 50% Native American by blood is in this country illegally. Hence all those folks voted illegally.

Posted by: anon | Jan 25, 2017 2:44:32 PM

The article says that Donald Trump called for a "major investigation" into voter fraud Wednesday.

As Emily points out above, Trump already conducted a "major investigation" into Obama's alleged phony birth certificate in Hawaii. We are still waiting for the results of that investigation. Recall that Trump announced his investigators had made incredible and shocking discoveries that would be released "soon." We are still waiting. Now I'm told we will get the results of the Hawaii investigation at the same time Trump releases his tax returns. So, when do you think we will see the results of the "major investigation" into voter fraud? Perhaps, as soon as KellyAnne Conway and Trump come up with their "alternative facts." Are you really going to trust the results of any "investigation" conducted by this liar-in-chief?

Posted by: Dave from Texas | Jan 25, 2017 2:51:49 PM

Of course there's some fraud. For example, there was that woman in Ohio who was caught voting twice for Trump. The question whether any fraud affects the election is different, though.

Posted by: Erik M | Jan 25, 2017 2:56:34 PM

Perhaps, anon, you could look into the Minnesota litigation and judge for yourself. Enjoy. As for the idea that 3-5 million votes were cast illegally in the US election, that seems an extremely remote possibility.

With respect to voter fraud, the lack of IDs, same day registration, ability of aliens to get on voter rolls in certain states, the recent fraud in LA with dead people voting and other items shows that this is a legitimate issue.

And remember that Al Gore forced INS to grant citizenship without proper reviews back in 95-96. People who shouldn't have gotten citizenship did. Seems to me that is far worse than Trump's delusional claim.

Posted by: federalist | Jan 25, 2017 4:54:17 PM

Do you think, federalist, that the new AG should make voter fraud investigation a top priority? Do you really think there is a chance that 3-5 million votes were cast illegally in this past US election but not in others? Do you think it reasonable to assert we have a banana republic if vote fraud is this widespread?

Posted by: Doug B. | Jan 25, 2017 10:52:27 PM

First of all, Doug, there are responsibilities the DOJ has with respect to voting and voting system integrity that, to put it mildly, have not been a huge priority for the recently-departed Administration. Guess they were too busy smearing Darren Wilson.

Second, I do not think that 3-5 million votes were illegally cast.

Third, if elections have been turned by voter fraud, then that (and I don't think this remotely debatable) undermines the legitimacy of any action by the government tainted by the fraud.

Fourth, I think that there are significant issues with voting systems in certain areas/states--Minnesota's same day registration seems ripe for abuse.

Non-citizens caught voting should get the hammer.

Posted by: federalist | Jan 26, 2017 2:29:02 PM

I note your silence re: Gore.

Posted by: federalist | Jan 26, 2017 2:29:35 PM

I do not know any of the facts re: Gore. Can you link me to a good source to read up on his activities here?

Posted by: Doug B. | Jan 26, 2017 5:54:48 PM

http://articles.latimes.com/1996-10-06/news/mn-51224_1_vice-president

The government bureaucracy at the service of the Democratic Party.

And recently, that IG report I mentioned that showed selective enforcement of the VRA . . . .

And you want me to get worked up about Trump buffoonery?

Posted by: federalist | Jan 27, 2017 9:36:05 AM

Buffoonery has consequences when the Prez is the buffoon. But I know you only really have fun criticizing Ds.

Posted by: Doug B. | Jan 27, 2017 11:49:38 AM

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